Tuesday, May 20, 2008

One Man's Naked Truth about Intimacy-Part I

We are not human beings
on a spiritual journey.
We are Spiritual Beings
on a Human Journey.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
(French Jesuit Priest/Philosopher & Paleontologist)

Why are we so afraid of intimacy? Why am I?

Few things have impacted my life like Teilhard de Chardin's "Spiritual Beings" quote. Chardin's philosophy wasn't new to me. But, the stark simplicity of his words reawakened the oft-forgotten truth buried within this mass of clay. Most of all, they are a constant reminder of divine order. We are Spiritual Beings on a human journey. Now, I eagerly incorporate his Spiritual Beings quote into my daily affirmations.

Little did I know...

just how pervasive my newly incorporated "Spirit first" affirmation would be. I received a call that my youngest sister was rushed to the Emergency Room. Major surgery ensued. Simultaneously, my Mom was recovering from major back surgery. The convergence of these events left my remaining sisters exhausted on all fronts. My brother and I both live out-of-state, but agreed to come home. He volunteered for the hospital shift, while I would relieve him once my sister was released.

I boarded a 6:00am Baltimore-bound Amtrak train. My luggage contained ample clothing, laptop and enough work to fill every hour of my visit. But neither the Yellow cab driver nor the train porter could see the invisible steamer trunk I was dragging with me. Stuffed inside was the stress from both surgeries and anxiety over my role as Caretaker. God only knows what else was lurking below the surface. Ok, make that God & myself.

Why am I so afraid?

My anxiety was eased upon seeing my sister. The shock at seeing her small frame was offset by her painful laughter at my jokes. Once home, I quickly found my rhythm and reveled in discovering the hyper-sensory skills of a caretaker/parent. We spent the next few days navigating post-surgery developments.

Those first days were like Man Heaven. My duties were results-driven ~ running errands, maintaining the medication schedule, adjusting pillows and lite joking ~ all well within my comfort zone. Man Heaven offered this male ego the perfect world: a damsel in distress and fixable scenarios. It got even better... every day in Man Heaven is like Palm Friday! It seemed as if every female was extolling my greatness for being there. There was something unsettling about the praise (which I will address in Part II). I was just a brother trying to care for his sister.

My visit to Man Heaven ended abruptly when my sister's recuperation took a painful downturn. I was quickly being forced into that uncomfortable area beyond my comfort zone. I could simultaneously juggle a bed pan/trash can combo while assuring Sis that none of this was more than I could bear. Handling the frenetic pace of liquid projectiles was challenging, but no where near as discomforting as my search for what to say. What is it about men like me that allows us to process a thousand thoughts-a-minute, yet our jaws remain clinched and our potentially soothing words... silent? My first casualty? I lost my mind. I stopped thinking, ceased editing, and let my unrehearsed thoughts flow from my mouth.

One small step for man, one large step for this man.

My trials came faster than Sis' post-op gas pains. Each trial was more intense than the last. Each one demanded that I remove yet another layer of me, from me. My eldest sister joined us on Friday. Together we witnessed as our sister went from sick to violently ill. The pain gripped her body causing seizure-like tremors. I watched, looking and feeling helpless, as my eldest sister embraced her and prayed without ceasing.

Why am I so afraid to Bare It All?

"There is something you can do." I heard a voice inside me implore me to get naked - to lose all the suffocating layers. I knew what I had to do. What if I...? What would they...? What if...? I can't expose myself... not to that level. But, the revealing words of my daily affirmation were unrelenting and ready to manifest in my life:

We are not human beings on a spiritual journey.
We are Spiritual Beings on a human journey.

I couldn't provide immediate relief for the pain that ravished her frail, trembling body. But, if I availed myself, I could soothe her soul. It wasn't about learning; it was remembering how to soothe her soul.

On Friday, May 9, 2008, my soul remembered what it really means to be intimate. I embraced my sister as I never have before. I softly spoke the words I've never spoken before ~ words that emanated from a pure place with the purist intention. I exposed myself to the universe, and in doing so declared that I finally remembered who I am.

Her pain remained - so much so that we had to rush her to the hospital. But her soul? Her soul quieted like that of a newborn baby. As for my soul, it matched the rhythm of my once lost/forever found twin. We discovered peace. We discovered understanding. We discovered love in the purest sense.

My life shall never be the same. Thank God!

Check back next week for a very revealing Part II. Fellas you have about 1 week to enjoy your slice of Man Heaven 'cause I'm about to bite into the apple.

Have a wonderful day, from That Johnson Boy!

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